This Week’s Gems – Sept 2nd 2012

So this is an inaugural series of posts I hope to do weekly. I’ve handpicked some useful stuff I came upon this week – links, articles, books, inspirational work –  and I thought it might interest you as well. Like most of my posts, these resources center around work, learning, artmaking and creativity. Enjoy this week’s potpourri:

1. The Little Book of Talent by Daniel CoyleThree years ago Daniel Coyle published the fantastic The Talent Code that debunked popular misconceptions on talent/genius and how to attain it. It shared some kinship with Gladwell’s Outliers, except Coyle gave us specific methods for getting better, for acquiring mastery, regardless of the pursuit. Here in this short volume he continues that discussion with more concrete tips. Each short chapter is supported by observations he made visiting masters and the schools/teachers that mentored them. Highly recommend it, to any ‘makers’ out there. I’ll leave you with a quote from the introduction:

Whatever talent you set out to build, from golfing to learning a new language to playing guitar to managing a startup, be assured of one thing: You are born with the machinery to transform beginners’ clumsiness into fast, fluent action. that machinery is not controlled by genes, it’s controlled by you. Each day, each practice session, is a step toward a different future. This is a hopeful idea, and the most hopeful thing about it is that it is a fact.

2. Working Out Doesn’t Just Make You Stronger, It Makes You Smarter [via FastCompany] Useful infographic that reminds you how important exercise is for your gray matter.

3. Scent of Revolution (Ra’ihat Al-Thawra) – A dear mentor of mine is seeking funds to finish off her most recent documentary. Viola Shafik is the author of the esteemed Arab Cinema and film maker/curator based between Berlin and Cairo. Based on the film’s trailer and description, it seems that this doc will be a multi-threaded, cross-sectional look at the complex relationship between Egypt’s past, present and future. She seems emotionally tied to finding some answers to where Egypt is going post-Mubarak. While there’s no shortage of films on the recent Egyptian revolution, I think few take such a nuanced look at the events as she has. With the film in the can, she’s seeking $18k for post – if you’re a fan of Arab cinema and want to be part of it, definitely pick up her book and try to support her film with whatever spare change you have.

4. Kirby Ferguson: Embrace the Remix – If you’re not familiar with Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix video series you should be. It debunks popular ideas on originality and ownership and is a great starting point for ‘makers’. In this short TED video he extends his ideas by using examples from Dylan and Steve Jobs to demonstrate how our most celebrated creators borrow, steal and transform to produce their greatest work. You can watch the full 10 minute video here:

5. I’ve spoken before about Skillshare, now they’re offering hybrid classes that allow students to take online classes and meet up in their respective cities for further discussion. Really interesting selection so far, I think I’m going to sign up for Build Your Creative Empire, and I just sent in a proposal to teach a Kickstarter Your Dreams class.